Roberto Franceschi Research Grants for International MSc and PhD students, Italy

Roberto Franceschi Research Grants for International MSc and PhD students, Italy
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Deadline for applications: December 15, 2020

Fondazione Roberto Franceschi Onlus promotes scientific research in the field of prevention, diagnosis and treatment of social pathologies and forms of social exclusion. For this purpose, each year the Foundation establishes a research funding programme named “Roberto Franceschi”, aimed at students of Master of Science and Phd programmes. For the year 2020 the programme is regulated by the present announcement.


Roberto Franceschi stated that a strong commitment to cultural and civic life was necessary to achieve the principles of human rights. The acquired knowledge, combined with ideals of non-formal democracy and social justice, enables to develop socio-economic projects in favour of marginalized peoples, ethnic groups and classes of individuals.

The Foundation named after him wants to remember especially his figure and the values that were his own and not only his tragic death by making available the sum of 16,000 Euros (before taxes), which can be assigned to one or more research grants named “Roberto Franceschi”, awarded each year following the competitive procedure detailed in a specific announcement and aimed at students of Master of Science and PhD programmes offered by Universities in Lombardy, including programmes carried out in agreement with other universities, as well as PhD students of any other Italian or foreign University, provided that they received their Master’s Degree from a University in Lombardy.
The amount received must be used by the winners to finance the collection of an original data set for the realization of their Master of Science or PhD research thesis in the field of prevention, diagnosis and treatment of social pathologies and forms of social exclusion, in line with the Foundation’s mission. Studies and research focusing on the analysis of the causes and processes of social distress, poverty and inequality as well as the responses to these issues will be taken into account for the allocation of the grants.
The programme wishes to address two major weaknesses of the Italian research system:

  • (a) the difficulty for young researchers to carry out independent projects;
  • (b) the lack of attention to the collection of datasets that can be used for scientific purposes. In addition, this initiative aims at promoting the culture of open access to data for the scientific community.

The amount of each grant may allow, for example, the collection of experimental data or samples in Italy or abroad. There are many cases in which interesting information publicly available on the Internet, in print or in administrative archives is not used for scientific purposes simply because the data are not in a suitable format. A little bit of creativity (which is not a scarce resource among young researchers) and some financial support (which is, by contrast, in short supply for people at the beginning of postgraduate training) are often enough to highlight new data and realize original projects. Existing information can be turned into a statistically treatable format with the help of computer programs or research assistants. These grants are intended to give students the opportunity to carry out data collection activities of this type.

The following features will be taken into consideration in the evaluation of submitted projects: the originality of the project; its consistency with the principles underlying the awarding of the grants; its scientific and policy relevance; the adequacy of the data that are to be collected and the proposed statistical treatment with respect to achieving the objective of the thesis; the feasibility of the project; the appropriateness of costs assessed on the basis of a budget.

For the purposes of this competition, data collection is to be defined as: direct collection of data, through interviews, sampling, laboratory tests etc.; transcription in electronic format of data only available in paper form, including the consultation of archives; the construction of original datasets from existing data, allowing the comparison of sources. The collected data may be quantitative or qualitative, provided that they are transferable to other researchers.

The competition for the scholarships is open to all students enrolled at the time of application in a Master of Science or PhD programme offered by a University in Lombardy, including programmes carried out in agreement with other universities, or in a PhD programme offered by any Italian or foreign University, provided that applicants received their Master’s Degree from a University in Lombardy.


All individuals included in the above categories can apply by sending an email to the address by 15 December 2020. The application must include the following attachments:

  • a) applicant’s curriculum vitae;
  • b) a motivation letter detailing applicant’s reasons for applying, with reference to
  • their future career plans;
  • c) a detailed research project describing the current knowledge of the research
  • area investigated, the contribution to the existing literature, the nature of the data
  • to be collected, the intended use of the data, a budget of the foreseen expenses
  • so as to justify the requested amount;
  • d) a summary of the research project, prepared following the structure of the form
  • attached to this announcement;
  • e) a reference letter from applicant’s PhD supervisor or Master’s thesis
  • supervisor;
  • f) a signed statement in which the applicant either declares that they are not
  • receiving other research grants or scholarships during the same period in which
  • the “Roberto Franceschi” grant is paid or specifies the type of funding received, its
  • expiration date and the institution providing it.

Applicants can ask for any amount of money up to 16,000 Euros (before taxes). The Scientific Committee will decide whether to fund one or more projects and will determine the amount allocated to each, assessing the appropriateness of costs.
According to the provisions of Art. 13 of Regulation (EU) 2016/679 (GDPR) on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data, we inform that the data provided by candidates with their application are collected at Fondazione Roberto Franceschi Onlus for the purposes of managing the selection procedure and any procedure for awarding the research grant. Candidates are always entitled to request access to their data, rectification or erasure of the same, limitation of processing, revocation of consent to processing claiming these and other rights provided by the GDPR by writing to


The procedures for the payment of the grants are different depending on whether

a) the grantee is not receiving other funding in the form of scholarships and/or research

b) the grantee is receiving another scholarship and/or research grant.

Case a): the grantee is not receiving scholarships and/or research grants.

In this case the amount is paid by Fondazione Roberto Franceschi Onlus directly to the winner. In particular, one third of the amount allocated will be paid at the time of announcement of the winners, subject to the need to anticipate pocket expenses to carry out the research, another third nine months after the announcement, upon presentation of a progress report, and the remaining part at the time of delivery of the completed project. The grantee has the obligation to notify any change of their status
with reference to their receiving scholarships and/or other research grants at the same time of the “Roberto Franceschi” grant; the Foundation will seek an agreement with the institution providing the funding in order to carry out the payment of the grant as suitable.

Case b): the grantee is receiving a scholarship and/or research grant at the time of application (for example, Doctoral scholarships).

In this case, the amount allocated to finance the data collection is transferred by the Foundation to the institution where the grantee carries out their research, among those indicated in Article 1 of this announcement; the institution will establish an individual research fund for that purpose. The rules pertaining to the financing of data collection expenses are those of the institution where the grantee carries out their research; therefore, that institution will define the amount and nature of eligible expenses, the documentary evidence of the same, the possibility of advance payments, administrative costs, etc. At the time of application the applicant guarantees, after receiving confirmation from
the administrative staff of the institution, that the items of expenditure justifying the amount required and the mode of financing comply with the regulations of the same.
In particular, the budget plan must spell out any amounts allocated to pay the administrative structures of the institution. Non-compliance of the application with the regulations of the institution or failure to specify the amounts withheld by the same will cause loss of the funding.

In case the amount is not entirely spent, the remaining sum will be returned to the Foundation by the institution within 60 days after the end of the reporting period.

The Foundation reserves the right to request documentary evidence of the expenses incurred by the grantees at any time, directly in case a) or through the institution in case b). Therefore the grantees must keep the whole documentation they possess. In both cases a) and b) once defended their Master’s or PhD thesis, the winners will have to hand in the collected dataset to Fondazione Roberto Franceschi Onlus, which will make the data available to the whole scientific community through its website. The dissemination of data by the Foundation may be postponed for a maximum period of three years, at the request of the winners, until the possible publication of papers or other works authored by them.


On 25 January 2021 the Scientific Committee, which is in charge of the selection procedure by unappealable decision, will make public the names of the winners and the amounts of the grants allocated to them. The announcement will be made during the Evening in memory of Roberto Franceschi taking place at Università Bocconi in Milan. Should none of the applications satisfy the minimum requirements to realize a valuable research, the funds will be moved to next year’s competition.

The Scientific Committee is composed of the following members:

  • Carlo Devillanova (President, Professor at Università Bocconi
  • Roberta Alidori (Graduate Student at the University of Oxford)
  • Maurizio Ambrosini (Professor at the University of Milan)
  • Gian Paolo Barbetta (Professor at Università Cattolica in Milan)
  • Elio Borgonovi (Professor at Università Bocconi)
  • Simone Cremaschi (Postdoctoral researcher at Università Bocconi)
  • Gregorio De Felice (Chief Economist at Intesa Sanpaolo)
  • Stefano Draghi (Professor at the University of Milan)
  • Tommaso Frattini (Professor at the University of Milan)
  • Eliana La Ferrara (Professor at Università Bocconi)
  • Mariapia Mendola (Professor at the University of Milano-Bicocca)
  • Piero Stanig (Professor at Università Bocconi).

The winners will be part of and contribute to the activities of Network Roberto Franceschi, the transnational network of scholars formed for the purpose of carrying out and promoting scientific research in the field of study of prevention of social pathologies and forms of social exclusion, on matters pertaining to underdevelopment, marginalization, poverty, migration and civil rights. The Network, which was originally made up solely of scholars awarded by Fondazione Roberto Franceschi Onlus, currently hosts also researchers awarded by Fondazione Isacchi Samaja, with their complementary contribution of information and expertise, with a view to the sharing of ideals and common goals between the two Foundations, despite the specific nature of their respective missions.

Source / More details: Official Website.

Download the call for applications: HERE

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